16
Mar
10

Synergy Agrees With Me About One Thing

450px-Tomorrowland_Entrance

Image taken from Wikimedia commons.

“It’s true, and we’ll all live in cities on the moon!” – Marge Simpson

IGN was in mid-season form this week, slobbering all over lame jokes and unabashedly praising the repetitive nature of the plot.  But let’s set aside the fussin’ and the feudin’ and talk about something we can agree upon.  The opening of the Zombie Simpsons episode was a reference to old Tex Avery cartoons and IGN thinks that if you’re a young whippersnapper you ought to look them up on your fancy YouTube machine.  But IGN doesn’t provide a link, I’ll provide two.  Here’s a link to a search with lots of videos, and here’s one about futuristic televisions that I just watched.  Ah, memories I used to watch these when I was a wee lad, and that was thirty odd years after they were broadcast.  All hail old cartoons! 

Other than that this review sucks, but it sucks less with the synergy edited out. 

March 15, 2010Though Sunday night’s episode of The Simpsons Zombie Simpsons was your basic Bart-takes-part-in-stupidly-conceived-because-they-ran-out-of-ideas-long-ago-mischief storylines, I quite enjoyed it. The writers are still unable to work a little something new any life at all into this tried  tired and true trite staple, and "Postcards from the Wedge" was no exception. From the stylized clock killing opening to Bart’s ham fisted manipulation of his parents’ marriage, the episode delivered laughs yawns along with its tediously unfunny familiarity.

The "Springfield of Tomorrow" opening was fantastic had potential. I absolutely loved Tex Avery’s "..Of Tomorrow" shorts as a kid and this segment brought me right back to that joy. The voiceover and art style was a great nod (with hints of The Jetsons) to those classics, and the bits were equally funny unfortunately the jokes were clumsy, obvious and drawn out. If you’re unfamiliar with those shorts from the ’50s, I hope the opening to this Simpsons Zombie Simpsons episode encourages you to check them out on YouTube. The transition out of this opening was also funny repetitive and obvious as it was revealed we were watching a film in Bart’s class and Mrs. Krabappel stated, "Well, that concludes… I don’t really know what that was." Neither did we.

From there we learned that Bart is a full month behind on his homework assignments, which he suddenly cared about for some reason. Also bringing back memories from childhood was Principal Skinner’s joke free list of undone assignments: "worksheets, math jumbles, dioramas, topic sentences, conclusions…and one Thanksgiving hand turkey. This led Homer to get strict on Bart for some other reason and force him to do nothing but catch up on his assignments. Marge started to feel like this might turn Bart off of school and wanted to go easy on him. Homer’s sarcastic response: "Oh, my! A child who doesn’t like school? Hello? Hollywood! You want to buy the movie rights to this incredible story?!" This was the best moment in the show as for one brief moment Homer was as bored as we were.  I could’ve liked that Homer and Marge’s viewpoints were the opposite of what we might have expected if it had been handled with even a little bit of care instead of having both of them start acting weird. Surely Homer would have been more laid back about it, and Marge stricter, but the episode mixed it up and assumed no one would notice because these characters were destroyed years ago. This was could have been a refreshing take on their dynamic and a very welcome one but instead it was as lazy as everything else.

Bart soon realized was told through pointless exposition that he could play his parents against each other to get out of doing any homework at all. This led to the pair arguing to the point of putting their marriage in fake, unbelievable danger. When Marge threatened to withhold sex from Homer, his obvious angry and less than clever response was, "You can’t sex fire me! I sex quit!" Being so much in love under contract, the fighting didn’t last and the duo decided to let Bart be Bart for the sake of their marriage. Heeding Nelson’s advice — "If no one’s getting mad, are you really being bad?" — Bart decided to pull one large prank that would bring Springfield Elementary tumbling down for some reason. This is where the seemingly stand-alone "Springfield of Tomorrow" opening tried to tied in with the rest of the episode. In the film, the voiceover mentioned Springfield’s cramped subway system which it then dragged out for twenty seconds, and which Milhouse and Bart had stumbled upon for one off plot purposes. Running the subway cars around the ancient tracks was causing the school to crumble for some final reason and Bart was set to send the train around one more time to finish the place off.

Overall, there was nothing too surprising the least bit interesting about the story itself. We’ve seen Bart cause trouble and Marge and Homer fight numerous times before. But even those tired ideas couldn’t fill a whole 22 minutes and so the jokes were good drawn out as long as possible, including some standout epically long bits. There was Martin’s over-the-top Hopi Indian pueblo. The "gets an A" sight gag was stellar coming a full thirty seconds after it started. I also loved the The House-referencing "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoon, which ended with Scratchy giving birth to his own head, took so long that I felt bad for the cat. Patty and Selma depressing Marge and Maggie was great also went forever. And being the parent of a toddler, I also thought the Sir Topham Hatt joke was pretty funny more pointless, humor free referencing. Again, the story was nothing entirely new, but the and what passed for jokes were smart and fun overly long and painfully unfunny and worth sitting on the couch for a half-hour.



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